Samantha Grady suffered injuries in the Florida school shooting on Wednesday, but thankfully she is one of the lucky ones who survived.
Her best friend, however, did make it.
Grady, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, recounted the horrific shooting scene during a live broadcast on the Today show.
On Thursday, the teen told Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb that she was laying right beside her best friend as she was shot during the school rampage. Grady was also injured in the shooting, but only suffering grazed bullets.
When asked if she knew how her best friend was doing, Grady replied “Unfortunately she didn’t make it,” and was quickly overtaken by tears.
What’s more, Grady said she believes it was a book, which she used as a shield of protection, that ultimately saved her life. It was her best friend, she says, who gave her the idea.
“We were already situated by the book shelf. She was like, ‘Grab a book, grab a book,’ and so I took a book. It was a tiny book, but I took a book and I held it up. I believe, maybe, the book kind of deterred some of the bullets, so it didn’t hit me so badly,” she said. “She was the one who gave me the idea. She definitely helped me a lot.”
Escaping the school
Grady said that they were in a locked classroom at the time of the shooting. The shooter, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, fired rounds into the glass of the door with his semiautomatic rifle to gain access into the room.
After fleeing the school, Grady said she hid behind a truck and tried to calm herself down before calling her parents. The teen was treated by paramedics on the scene and eventually called her parents while riding in an ambulance to the hospital.
“My dad was really worried. It was etched all over his face. And my mom, she was bawling. As you can imagine, it was pretty scary for both of them,” Grady said.
Grady says that hospital staff advised her to talk about the shooting as much as possible, in an effort to “get it out your brain.”
“So whenever the opportunity came, whenever someone asked, I freely talked about it,” she said. “Because I don’t want nightmares.”
The death toll for the Parkland, Florida school shooting stands at 17, but that number is expected to climb, reports the New York Times. The bodies of some victims remain in the school, as law enforcement prepares to retrieve them.
Nikolas Cruz has been arrested and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, and is expected to be arraigned in court on Thursday. Cruz is a former student who was expelled for disciplinary problems, according to the Broward County Public Schools superintendent.
Students described the teen as troubled and unstable, and said he did not have any friends while enrolled at the school. The young shooter is now accused of committing one of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history, according to CNN.